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CLOSING ARGUMENT: Rich DuPont, Candidate for U.S. House

May 10, 2018 By Staff
CLOSING ARGUMENT: Rich DuPont, Candidate for U.S. House

Rich DuPont, who's been involved with business and community service in the greater Waterbury area for decades, is running for the seat Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) is vacating.

“My experiences in workforce development, community development, and economic development are really unparalleled,” Rich DuPont told Reclaim Connecticut on Wednesday. “If nominated for the Republican position in Congress, I’m really prepared to work hard.”

DuPont is a fresh face in the Republican contest for Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District, recently scrambled by the retirement of Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) amid a scandal that engulfed her office. DuPont, who has more than 30 years’ experience in business and community service in the greater Waterbury area, just announced his candidacy on May 2.

He’ll face Ruby O’Neill and former Mayor Manny Santos (R-Meriden) at the CT GOP convention this weekend at Foxwoods.

We checked in with DuPont as part of Reclaim Connecticut’s ongoing “Closing Argument” series, where candidates competing at May’s statewide conventions – and, potentially, August’s primaries – have a chance to make their case to convention delegates and voters.

15 PERCENT

A candidate has to earn the support of 15 percent of the delegates at the convention to automatically qualify for the August primary. If he or she doesn’t hit 15 percent, they can petition their way onto the primary ballot, though it can be a long and expensive process. Whoever earns 50 percent of delegates’ votes, after any number of rounds of voting, wins the party endorsement.

DuPont said he’s feeling “pretty good” about 15 percent.

“I’m feeling pretty good about that,” DuPont said. “I’m well-known in the community for my accomplishments around community, economic, and workforce development.”

DuPont said a lot of what happens in this suddenly-competitive race will depend on what happens in the fall.

“I think a lot of that will depend on the party itself, and how the party evaluates what it is going to take to make concessions, make decisions, that solidify a solid effort on the part of the Republican team,” DuPont said. “We have a unique opportunity this year to really capitalize on the fact that there is much to be done, there are many opportunities, and there are qualified people to leverage those opportunities for the betterment of our communities.”

THE TRUMP FACTOR

Of course, as a candidate for Congress, the divisive president of the United States will factor into DuPont’s candidacy.

But the businessman suggested a nuanced approach to President Trump, saying he will pay close attention to what the president proposes but will not be a “yes man,” either.

“The president of the United States was elected to the office that he holds. Whether I agree with everything the president does, how he does it, is not the issue,” DuPont said. “My job as a representative for the Fifth Congressional District would certainly be to pay close attention to what it is that the president is proposing.”

“At the same time,” DuPont added, “I have to be keenly aware of what our people in the Fifth District expect. I don’t consider a congressional seat that is a ‘yes man’ or ‘yes person’ to the president. I think it truly needs to be as an adviser to the president and his team as to what those people in the Fifth Congressional District are expecting and why.”

JOBS, JOBS, JOBS

But DuPont said his first priority will be jobs and the economy.

“First and foremost is jobs and the economy for the state of Connecticut,” DuPont argued.

With his experience in manufacturing, at a global scale, DuPont said he can work to funnel appropriations into the state “that support jobs, workforce development, education, and training.”

“Jobs are the only way that we have hope of coming out of this economy, and stabilizing this economy,” DuPont concluded.

“GOOD CITIZENS”

DuPont is committed to making his candidacy about being a “good citizen” in the community.

“Becoming very good citizens in our community is what this is all about,” DuPont said, and “raising awareness about what the opportunities [in the district] really are.”

“There are many,” DuPont concluded. “And so I’m here to do as much as I can.”